Incorporated in 1837, Houston was founded by the Allen brothers who arrived from New York with a dream of starting a city. They initially named it Allen’s Landing, but decided to name it after Sam Houston, a war hero and President of the Republic of Texas at the time the city was incorporated. Houston’s location on the water, at what was to become the deepwater Port of Houston, quickly made it a transportation hub and trading center. More international freight moves through the Houston port than any other port in the U.S., and it is the second largest port for domestic tonnage.
The discovery of oil at the Spindletop field near Beaumont in 1901 turned Houston into a boomtown. After several cycles of boom and bust in the oilfields in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Houston began to diversify its economy to include other industries. Today Houston businesses include manufacturing, industrial, energy, chemical, healthcare, transportation and aerospace industries.
Traffic, freeways, apartment buildings and lots of humidity seem to be Houston’s defining qualities, except the city has a little something for everyone no matter who they are or what they like to do. And it has some of the strangest and most interesting things anywhere around, many of which are hidden treasures that the native Houstonians keep to themselves, which is why they love Houston.
The Houston area repeatedly makes Money magazine’s “100 Best Places to Live in the United States.” Living in Houston offers a range of options that seem endless, and there is plenty of everything, from unique cities within the city to niche services like glassblowing. Houston has two medical schools, three separate community college systems, and two Level I trauma hospitals, when most cities rarely have one.
In addition to the expected museums, art galleries, symphonies, opera, ballet, zoo, arboretum, outdoor performance venues, aquariums, rodeo, marathon, polo games, greyhound racing, shopping, restaurants, bars, breweries, professional sporting events, 56,405 acres of parks and a Presidential library, Houston has a plethora of unexpected things to do too.
Quirky attractions include the Beer Can House, Doc Porter’s Museum of Telephone History, the Art Car Museum, the Orange Show, the National Museum of Funeral History, and of course, the Houston Roller Derby.
Houston has historical attractions too, including the Battleship Texas, the San Jacinto Monument, the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and the Holocaust Museum.
Eating is a big past time in Houston too with every imaginable type of food represented here, including one of the largest fleets of gourmet food trucks in the U.S.
Business Space In Houston
Houston is unique in that it does not have zoned commercial and residential areas, so renting office space can mean it is located anywhere in the city. In addition to the Downtown area, Houston has five concentrated business areas. When viewing Houston’s skyline, there are five clumps of skyscrapers spread across the city. The building skyline is third tallest skyline in North America.
In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Statistics identified Houston as 1st for job creation, and Forbes listed it as one of the “Best Places for Business and Careers.”
Downtown has energy companies, banks, financial services, law offices, transportation and logistics companies. The Underground in Downtown is seven miles of pedestrian tunnels, complete with shops, services and restaurants.
Uptown (also known as The Galleria) is the second biggest business district, and is home to energy companies, engineering, construction, home builders, hotels, upscale restaurants and shopping, including The Galleria shopping mall.
The Texas Medical Center is full of world renown hospitals and medical facilities, including M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital that attracts people from around the world for cutting edge cancer treatment.
The Greenway Plaza area houses energy and exploration companies and law offices. Lakewood Church, the largest Christian church in the U.S., with more than 50,000 members, makes this area its home.
The newest addition to Houston’s business districts is the Energy Corridor on the west side of Houston. The area contains construction, energy and exploration companies.
Houston is known as a sprawling city and so it also has three business districts situated about 30 miles from the center of Downtown Houston.
On the south side, Clear Lake is home to a vibrant medical and medical research community and the aerospace industry with NASA’s Johnson Space Center being a major employer in the area.
To the east, the Ship Channel (Pasadena, Deer Park, Baytown, La Porte and Channelview) area houses many manufacturing plants, and chemical and petroleum refineries.
On the southwest side, Sugarland (home to Imperial Sugar) is home to energy, engineering and software companies. It is one of the fastest-growing areas in the city due to the availability of open space.
Houston is headquarters to 24 Fortune 500 companies according to Forbes Magazine, including Halliburton, Sysco, ConocoPhillips, KBR (Kellogg Brown & Root), Cameron International, Marathon Oil, Kinder Morgan, Baker Hughes and Waste Management.
Many iconic companies call Houston home, including Al's Formal Wear, Men's Wearhouse, HostGator, Imperial Sugar, Minute Maid, BMC Software, Pennzoil, BP, Mustang Engineering, Schlumberger, Citgo, James Coney Island, Luby's and Service Corporation International.
Facts about Houston:
Houston is more spread out than most large U.S. cities with a land area of 634 square miles, and spans three Texas sized counties – Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery. The greater metropolitan area is 10,062 square miles, making it bigger than New Jersey!
The elevation is only 43 feet above sea level. This combined with Houston’s flat landscape and 50 inches of rain a year, means Houston is green and lush, and it floods.
The average low temperature in January is 46° F and the average high temperature in July is 95° F. Houston averages 106 days a year above 90° F, but only averages four days a year over 100° F.
According to the 2010 Census, Houston’s population is over 2.1 million people, with over 6.2 million people in the Greater Houston area.
The racial mix on Houston is 26% Caucasian, 24% African-American, 42% Hispanic, 6% Asian and 2% other races. One in five people were born outside the U.S., with the majority coming from Mexico or Asia.